Prey species use the road a lot. Easier for them to move from one spot to another. Also, moose will use the roads to stand their ground with wolves and fight. Predators use the roads too. Most of the time, they will be close by. Just within the treeline. Following, Watching. Waiting for the right moment to come out. They want to be as close as possible, before having to burst into speed.
Highways are no different. Predators and prey will cross, and sometimes hang around certain areas. The danger to humans, is very real. A person needs to pay attention to their surroundings. (Photos above are examples of what you can find on roads. Source: Barb & Doug Campbell.)
I made a trip out to the other side of Smithers on Friday. I received an email about unknown activity and strange tracks. From the moment I arrived, I noticed the layout of the land from the mountains across the valley, to the highway, and across the ranches, on towards the Bulkley River. A perfect corridor. I would use it to hide my presence. Lots of water. Streams. Swampy-like. Ample food sources to tantalize any prey species throughout. I saw maybe one deer track. Lots of wolf tracks. Old and fresh.
As I spent more time at the location, I suddenly realized what was going on. Wolves are raising pups here. A den is nearby. River close by. Farms nearby where they can grab a young, weak, sick, or injured animal. Plus any game that happens to come by. This particular area, was open to the horses. But the horses refuse to enter. The grass is greener, but that is not enough to tempt the horses either. The ranchers haven't seen any deer here either.
|Heidi Schmid standing in front of a cottonwood tree.|
These particular wolves are brazen. What concerns me, is the proximity of the highway. It is a well known fact that people have been disappearing along Highway 16. There can be many reasons as to why, but I cannot dismiss the possibility, that some may be attributed to wolves. Especially if remains were found scattered not too far in the woods, from the road.
In the late 80's, Moricetown area, I seen what I thought was the biggest coyote I had ever seen. It did not look like the wolves I had been accustomed to in this area. It is quite possible that we may have coywolves too. I would need to hang around the area for a while to be sure.
There is an area just before Moricetown, where you will see an awesome beaver dam just off the highway, before the river. It is known to many locals as Cow Hill. I would exercise caution walking along the highway, between that area and the village, late in the evenings or after dark. If you must, don't go alone, and bring a flashlight. I personally wouldn't recommend night travel, on foot anyway.
Being human, does not exempt us from how things operate in the wilds. If an animal is hungry, and the opportunity is ripe, we are there for the taking too. We are no different. Please exercise caution when traveling roads on foot. Our highways are not as safe as you think they are. Not only from human predators, but also wildlife.
* Please. People who dump carcasses or garbage, for whatever reason, need to think carefully about where they discard those things. Don't do it along some road where someone could fall victim.
On another note, I collected a number of hair samples from an old barbed wire fence, that grabbed my attention. I did see old moose hairs, but left those behind. I found long strands of black and reddish brown. Not horse or cow tail hairs either. I will take a closer look at those later on. I did come across some old horse remains. The ranch has been missing bales from the barn. (Mystery concerning missing bales has been solved. Gotta love trail cams. Someone was stealing them.)
I will be back to monitor the location. I would be interested in hearing from anyone in the Evelyn and Moricetown areas, with regards to wolves, or Bigfoot. (Update: These are not ordinary wolves. Rancher believes they are dealing with coywolves.)